Who was Pauline Reage?

The writer who penned Histoire d'O did not reveal her true identity for decades after publication. In 1994, 86 year old Dominique Aury publicly announced that she was the author. Already a respected literary figure in France, and publicly perceived as a conservative middle-aged woman, few suspected Aury had written Story of O. The few that did know her identity, never released the information.

Dominique Aury wrote Histoire d'O at the age of 47. She had no intention to publish the manuscript as a book, nor to shock the 1950's French literary world. She scribbled the story down in pencil, writing deep into the night, to complete a work to entice her own lover - Jean Paulhan.

Aury was devoted to Paulhan. He was married and much older. She wanted to produce something to hold his interest. Paulhan was known for enjoying erotic literature and upon reading her manuscript he convinced Aury to finish the work as a complete novel and have it published.

It has been revealed that both Dominique Aury and Pauline Réage were pseudonyms of Anne Desclos. Declos began to use the name Dominique Aury when she joined Gallimard Publishers as an editorial secretary She was born in Rochefort-sur-Mer, Charente-Maritime, France on 23 September 1907.

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